Bolstered by Level 4 spins, Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia won the short program, besting American Gracie Gold by 5.09 points to win the short program. Last year’s champion, Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova, is in third.
Skating to “Dark Eyes,” Lipnitskaia, 13, impressed with a triple toe-triple toe combination and her triple Lutz, which helped earn 63.09 points. U.S. junior champion Gold, 16, has 58.00 points while Sotnikovav, 15, is close behind with 56.57 points.
Performing to “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” Gold opened with a triple flip-triple toe combination and showed off a solid triple Lutz. She earned Level 4s for all three spins and a Level 3 for her steps. Gold trains in Chicago with coach Alexander Ouriashev.
Defending World junior champion Sotnikova, skating to Ravel’s “Bolero,” landed a triple toe-triple toe and a triple Lutz..
American Christina Gao, who placed fourth at last year’s World Junior Championships, sits in fifth place with 52.66 points. Skating to Felix Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E Minor,” Gao’s triple toe-triple toe combination complimented two Level 4 spins. Gao, who will turn 18 next week, trains in Toronto with coach Brian Orser.
Team USA’s Vanessa Lam, a two-time medalist on the JGP circuit this season, is 11th after skating to “Con Te Partiro.” Lam, 16, trains in Westminster, Calif., under coaches Doug Chapman and Dianne de Leeuw.
Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina and Ruslan Zhiganshin and teammates Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin turned in strong performances to hold their places in earning gold and silver medals. U.S. junior champions Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton, who prevented a Russian medals sweep by coming back from fifth place to earned the bronze.
Skating to “Phantom of the Opera,” Sinitsina and Zhiganshin earned Level 4s in five of the seven elements on their way to a season-best 90.03 points. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions, who have not lost a competition this season, finished with 153.81 points.
Skating to “Live and Let Die,” Stepanova and Bukin turned in Level 4 lifts, spins and twizzles for 85.06 points. They finished with 147.74 points.
Aldridge and Eaton turned in two outstanding performances, earning personal bests in the short (57.76) and free (83.38) for a total 141.14. Their upbeat “Lord of the Dance” program was technically demanding, and they handled it with aplomb. The Canton, Mich.-based skaters train under a team headed by Pasquale Camerlengo and his wife, two-time world dance champion Anjelika Krylova.
Americans Lauri Bonacorsi and Travis Mager, who performed to “Close to You,” finished in seventh place with 128.41 points. The two-time U.S. junior silver medalists train under 1980 Olympic dance champions Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov in Aston, Pa.
Team USA’s Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons, who earned a personal-best 45.37 in the short program, finished in 15th place with 109.16 points. The team performed to “Enigmatic Soul” and “To Glory.” They train at Maryland’s Wheaton Skating Academy under coaches Alexei Kiliakov and Dmitri Ilin.